Tisha B’Av is a day set aside to remember the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people. There are many. Our Teachers tell us that the sin of the spies in the wilderness took place on this date. Also, the fall of Bara Kochba and the decree of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to expel the Jews took place on this date. Specifically the day is a remembrance of the destruction of the First and Second Temples. This includes, in both cases, the destruction of Jerusalem and a loss of sovereignty. Most observances of this nature are designed to remember the fallen. For example, Yom HaShoah is a day set aside to remember the victims of the Holocaust. In the United States, there are observances to remember the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the Terrorist attack on 9/11 2001. On each of these occasions, there is a ceremony or perhaps a moment of silence to remember the victims.
Tisha B’Av is different. The observance is not really designed to remember the fallen but rather to remember collectively the covenant relationship between God and the Jewish people. Perhaps if the events took place in closer proximity to our day, there might be a focus on the victims. Be that as it may, the motif of the service is the remembrance of the covenant. The Book of Lamentations is read and is followed by a series of paragraphs called “kinot” “dirges”. These poems reflect the sadness of the tragedies and often relate the tragedies to rebellion of the people. However, some of the Kinot reflect the hope of redemption. It is important for us all to remember Tisha B’Av because we stand with our people of every generation who have suffered at the hands of those who would seek to destroy us. Just as we stood at Sinai we were there at every juncture of Jewish history. We collectively identify with the tragedies, the rebellions and the victories. On Tisha B’Av we weep with our people over the tragedies of history.
This week’s Haftorah is from Isaiah chapter 40 which begins Comfort ye my people. This passage begins a prolonged section in Isaiah that promises redemption; that promises the restoration of Israel, land and blessing. The prophets spoke of a day of darkness that would be followed by a day of victory. As Messianic Jews we share in that hope. God has given us the assurance of that day when he sent the Messiah. His sufferings epitomize the history of the Jewish people. His resurrection is the hope of Israel. When we embrace Yeshua, we experience aspects of the resurrection life. We are sad over the travail of our people but we rejoice that there will be the day when the Temple will be rebuilt again and the Messiah will sit on his throne in Jerusalem, the nations will come to Jerusalem and there will be peace.
Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons. 9 “Shall I bring to the point of birth and not give delivery?” says the LORD. “Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb?” says your God. 10 “Be joyful with Jerusalem and rejoice for her, all you who love her; Be exceedingly glad with her, all you who mourn over her, Isaiah 66:8-10